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At Sacramento magazine, we’re all about showcasing the very best the Sacramento region has to offer. So it’s no wonder “The Best of Sacramento” is our favorite feature of the year. In the following pages, you’ll not only find out who our subscribers say are the “best” in 55 categories; you’ll also discover 75 of our own editors’ picks, including some familiar faces and places plus others that might be new to you but that we think are pretty darn special. So sit back, relax and join us in celebrating what makes the Sacramento region simply the best.
Food & Drink
Best Place To Ponder Purchasing a Benz Over Panini and Martinis: Bistro 33 Rocklin
The first of its kind in the United States, the restaurant is located inside the Mercedes-Benz of Rocklin dealership and service center.
Best British Fix: Touch of Britain
Located on Watt Avenue in North Highlands, Touch of Britain tearoom and shop serves traditional English tea middays Wednesday through Sunday. Go for tea and a crumpet, or try the steak and kidney pie, spaghetti on toast, or fish and chips.
Best Designer Cookies: Cookieboy Artisan Baked Goods
This midtown landscape designer's custom-designed cookies, sporting expertly iced monograms and more, are a feast for the eyes.
Best Alternative Bakery: Azna Gluten Free Bakery
Thanks to this dedicated gluten-free, vegan bakery in Cameron Park, folks who forego gluten and animal products in their diets can still have their cake (and cinnamon rolls and brownies and scones) and eat it, too.
Best Ethnic Market in Folsom: Folsom Quality Meat Market & Kabul Bazaar
This store and butcher shop is stacked, literally to the rafters, with interesting halal goods, including Asian teas, chaat spices, kefir cheese, organ meats, whole fishes, gas can-size containers of olive oil, huge bags of lentils and dried peas, and olives.
Best New Farmers Market: Oak Park Farmers Market
The weekly outdoor market, open mid-May through mid-October, supplies residents of this urban "food desert" with a place to buy fresh, nutritious produce from local farmers.
Best Press: Frate Sole Olive Oil
This estate-grown olive oil from Woodland is so good, it won gold twice this year—at the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition and the Yolo County Fair.
Best Surprise in Old Sac: Cafe Americain
Who'da thunk you'd find a champagne and caviar bar in the heart of tourist land?
Best Sweet Buns in the Round: Mahoroba Japanese Bakery's Kobe Cream Delight Buns
These buns are sweet, but not too sweet, and the bakery's in a round-shaped building. (OK, technically, it's a decagon—but you get our angle.)
Best Raw Resource: The Green Boheme
The heat is not on at this tiny raw foods cafe on Del Paso Boulevard, where you can dine on vegan "living foods," pick up organic and superfood supplies, and take classes on getting healthy on a diet of plants, nuts, sprouts and seeds.
Best New Frozen Treat: Shari Fitzpatrick's Chocolate
Dipped Berries and Bananas—For $5.99 per 12-ounce carton at Raley's and Bel-Air, you can get frozen chocolate-dipped strawberries, cherries, raspberries and peanut butter-covered bananas whenever you like.
Best Place To Pick Your Own Mandarins: Sunset Ridge in Newcastle
You can pick wicked-good mandarins here (the ones with the baggy skins that peel right off) while enjoying the gorgeous view from the Newcastle hillside.
Best Burger Joint With a Less Than Appetizing Name: Nationwide Freezer Meats
While the name of this midtown dive isn't exactly drool-inducing, its French Ground Steak Burger absolutely rocks.
Best Place To Get Your Candy Fix 365 Days a Year: Kobasic's Candies—You can stop in this family
owned and - operated shop any day of the year for some chocolates and candies made by third- and fourth-generation candy makers.
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Best Scottish Import Since Plaid: Alasdair Fraser
Hailed as one of the finest fiddlers Scotland has ever produced, this San Juan Ridge resident and master musician has helped foster a renaissance of traditional Scottish fiddling and dance in the U.S. and abroad through his concerts, Nevada City-based record company, and fiddle schools and camps in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Scotland and Spain.
Best Small Theater Nestled Within a Big Neighborhood: Celebration Arts
With blocks of houses surrounding it on all sides, this tiny East Sac theater’s very existence is a surprise to some, but its productions make it well worth pulling out the GPS to find.
Best Local Band Celebrating a Big Birthday: Mumbo Gumbo.
Fun-loving, fan-favorite multigenre party band Mumbo Gumbo celebrates 20 years this year.
Best Jazz Group: American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble
This award-winning student group puts the smooth in smooth jazz.
Best Boomer Band: Ant Bee Band
This six-man acoustic band from Roseville really gets the joint jumpin’ with its energetic covers of classic rock songs from the ’70s.
Best Pint-Size Banjo Player: Quinn Alfaro
When he performs on Second Saturday with local band Mike Blanchard & the Whispering Chingaderos, this 12-year-old more than holds his own with the big boys.
Best Ambassadors for Skateboarding Since Tony Hawk: Nic and Tristan Puehse
These Shingle Springs twins may be only 12 years old, but their skateboarding videos on YouTube have logged more than 11 million views; their first full-length feature film, Nic and Tristan Go Mega Dega, is available on DVD, and more movies are in the works.
Best Reason To Listen Up: Stories on Stage
Fiction writers turn their work over to professional actors, who read the stories at the mike the last Friday of every month at midtown’s Sacramento Poetry Center. It’s often hilarious, sometimes chilling and always a good, lively listen.
Best Gospel Singer Who Can Groove You Into Shape: Van Goss
With a music and fitness nonprofit called Van Goss Ministries, and songs such as “Preacher’s Daughter,” “Irresistible Praise” and “My Lord Reigns,” it’s clear that Van Goss not only walks the talk, she runs it and sings it, too.
Best Dancers Who Hip-Hop Into the Community: Capitol Roots
Dancers from this active arts studio and event production company take hip-hop, break dancing and martial arts tricking out to the region at fundraisers and competitions.
Best Stepping Stone to Stardom: B Street Theatre Acting Internship Company
Recent college grads from throughout the country try out for coveted spots in B Street’s acting internship program, where they receive intensive professional training and opportunities to appear in the award-winning theater’s plays. Former interns have gone on to star in productions in major markets.